Father’s Day Race to Give Kids Life!

In Africa they say, “Water is Life.” About 768 million people in the world lack access to safe water.

It is the number one preventable cause of death in the world. Women and children often walk 6 miles or more each way two to three times a day to gather water that isn’t even safe to drink, water that could kill them.

Through Team World Vision, $50 will provide clean water for one person for a lifetime!

Continue reading

 

Words in Africa: “I am not a white man; I am a child of God.”

(It would take a 600-page book to describe the emotions encountered in merely our first six hours today. It all came so fast I could not pause to cry until now. Let this brief post serve as a tiny glimpse into one significant encounter amid many on day one in Jinja, Uganda, East Africa. Today though March 20th I am here visiting friends and missionaries with Next Generation Ministries » see NGM Facebook page.)

Met so many wonderful people today, day one in Uganda. And they each invited me into their daily adventure of embodying beauty and embracing brokenness.

Sometime in the middle of today, amidst many errands and meeting with a number of people, we were delayed on return from a newer “modern hospital,” the conditions of which could not possibly pass inspection for a makeshift day clinic for the homeless in America.

But we are not in the States, and this is the best care poverty can buy in Uganda. I’m told it is a vast improvement from government-funded healthcare (a statement validated as an understatement by a later evening visit to Jinja Main Hospital; more on that in a future bite, I hope).

Today, at Al Shafa Modern Hospital Limited a lady walked up with her under-nourished, famished, and deeply I’ll daughter. I think the girl is five years old. We encouraged her to enter the clinic and admit her child, to which she replied in Lugandan that she has no money and has lost all hope. This child clearly needed a blood transfusion and it seems malaria wants to steal the life of another beautiful child.

Against all hope Saluwa knew she had to daily decide between one small shared meal for the family or getting life-saving medical help.

If only someone cared for her and pleaded her case. Continue reading

 

swim-bike-run » for clean water & fullness of life

You’ve heard it said, “New year, new you.”

What if I told you that goal is too small? What if you and I were made for so much more than self-glory?

In view of all the reasons I run, and with a goal of getting uncomfortable, in 2015 I’ve made it a goal to take something 1) I personally enjoy, that is 2) a noble pursuit, and 3) make it less about me … by connecting it to a bigger ambition. Last year, as part of a noble pursuit of health and fitness, I attempted a sprint triathlon, especially enjoyed the training and was pleased with the results.

Since triathlon—like all other pursuits—can easily morph into a triple event in self-actualization (look at me! 3x), I have to fight against that urge and make it more about true global needs. Instead of asking God to make my dreams come true, I’m learning to let those dreams die to see His dreams come to life. 1

Team World Vision | Triathlon

So, this year I’m swimming-biking-running with Team World Vision to help provide clean water for communities in Africa. The needs are real, but there is something we can do!

$50 = clean water for 1 person

Will you donate to provide clean water for 1, 2, 3, or even more people in Africa?

Clean WaterTogether we can help change lives in Africa across Ghana, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia.

– – –
The Race: On June 21st I’ll swim-bike-run in the Clackamas Cove Triathlon (you’re welcome to join me). 2 Last year was my first attempt at a triathlon; this time I want to not only place first in my age division, but more importantly: reach this goal of providing clean water for 30 people in Africa? Will you join me?

World Vision works with communities in desperate need to help provide things like clean water, nutritious food, education, medical care, and economic opportunity.

Links:

Thanks for your support!
—Jeff

  1. My body ‘needs’ many things, including being daily punished into godly submission to Christ (see 1 Cor. 9:24-27), yet more than that: everyone needs clean water!
  2. An aside: the Clackamas Cove Triathlon is not officially connected to my fundraiser. Their good work in the Oregon City community focuses on local charities.
 

For Jesus makes their cause His own.

The spread of Christianity in the first century is an unprecedented movement as God’s mission and message spread through ordinary people. One these followers of Jesus became the first martyr in the Christian Church.

Stephen, who appointed to a servant-leadership role had a ‘priestly spirit,’ for he cared for the poor, embodied bold courage, prayed for people, and loved and forgave his enemies until the good end. May God raise up more servant leaders like Stephen, who trust in Jesus as their High Priest, and become like Him.

They were like a Kingdom of Priests sent by Jesus their High Priest. Because He made our cause His own, we make His cause our own.

Revival

Stephen, whose face shined like the face of an angel (Acts 6:15), stood up and preached boldly about the access we now have freely to God. His final words:

7:51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:51-60)

How can this man forgive his enemies? In becoming the first Christian martyr, Stephen was generous and courageous to the very end. It cost him everything!

Stephen had a ‘priestly spirit,’ taking the problems of others to God.

God intends that every follower of His Son would become like our High Priest, embracing and embodying the grace and truth of Jesus. Only in that way will we have the confidence and the courage to face our enemies … and the grace to forgive them. (Listen to the rest.) Continue reading

 

The God with dirty hands.

What does God think of the messiness of our lives? Is He mad like the parent who tells the kids to clean their rooms only to return and find them dirtier and more disheveled than before?

I’ve found through Jesus God the Father comes and cleans up the mess alongside us, even doing the hardest parts gladly, yet letting us feel like we’ve contributed to the project. Of course, without Him it (and we) would still be a mess, and simply put, He’s done it all. All because Jesus proves God doesn’t mind getting messy.

“We worship a God who gets His hands dirty, forming humanity from the dust of creation, becoming human and breathing His first breaths in the filth of a stable, and living an ordinary life as a carpenter. His hands are stained with blood and dust as He climbs Golgotha and His hands are forever scarred by nails as He dies for you and me. The story of the Gospel is a story that takes place within our world, beginning in a garden, journeying through deserts, and showing up in the landscapes and living rooms of our own stories, where we first came to know Jesus and hear what He’d done to bring us back to God.
… Though Jesus has ascended to heaven, He’s not finished with getting His hands dirty. Now, though, His intent is to get His hands in the dirt through you and me as we live in the world on His behalf.” 1

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  1. Daniel Montgomery & Mike Cosper, Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for a your a Spiritual Journey, 195-196.
 

Get to know the real St. Patrick.

Did you know Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish, and that when he was sixteen he was captured by pirates and sold off to be a slave in Ireland? (My son thought that was pretty cool. Plus, he now knows there weren’t any snakes in Ireland before Patrick arrived, so he didn’t drive them out.)

St. Patrick in Ireland

Until that sudden change as a teen, Patrick had zero interest in Christianity. Through suffering and isolation from others, God entered his life and transformed him from the inside out. As a new son of God he was never forsaken and prayed diligently day and night while alone tending to his master’s sheep and livestock in the Irish countryside. God spoke to him a way of escape, featuring a long 200-mile trek to board a ship waiting at the coast. Encountering the risen Christ in this special Providence, Patrick learned to trust God and serve Him faithfully and passionately. Upon arriving home he found training in the ways of Jesus (in seminary, becoming a monk), and gave up his inheritance on earth for the sake of the Gospel.

There’s much more to Patrick’s story. I’ll let this super short video from From Timothy Paul Jones and Church History Made Easy share some highlights:

With undaunted courage and perseverance — becoming enlightened by the Gospel and motivated by the grace of God, which overwhelmed his heart and soul — Patrick later returned to the place of his misery to serve, embodying courage and generosity. Back in Ireland he did the work of a “saint,” spread the Gospel, loving people who loved themselves and didn’t love God. Knowing God personally and developing sound theology, Patrick used the terms of the pagans to explain the terms of Grace, the Cross, and the Kingdom of God. (Legend has it he took the common yet sacred-shaped shamrock to describe the character of God, explaining the Trinity in a visual way).

St. Patrick Shamrock Trinity

A great missionary, a great man. Can’t wait to meet Patrick in heaven, snakes or no snakes.

 

Family first?

Quote

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“If our highest love is our family, we will ultimately choose our family’s good over the good of other families. If our highest love is our nation, we will choose our nation’s interests and ignore those of other countries. If our highest love is our own individual comfort and happiness, we will choose to serve ourselves over the needs of others. Only if our highest love is God himself can we love and serve all people, families, classes, and races.”
—Jonathan Edwards, quoted in Center Church: doing balanced, gospel-centered ministry in your city, by Timothy Keller

(reminded by Kris Zyp)